|I'm just going to post a little about how I spent this past weekend. Unfortunately, there are no pictures - I forgot my camera when I could have taken pictures and was way too busy the rest of the time. The photos that are here were found on the CoolRunning.com website. There was a photographer at our water/aid station on Sunday morning and I guess he was working for them.
Friday I decided to take the day off of work to go check out the Expo. I had volunteered to help on Saturday and rather than have to get there really early to look around and then stay to work the rest of the day, I decided to dedicate a day just to looking around.
I got in to the city some time after noon and grabbed lunch at Chipotle. It was pretty crowded with people who appeared to also be in town for the marathon in some capacity. Walked over to Jacob Javits Center and located the expo. They moved it within the center this year and I was thinking this would be better for me the next day. Last year I spent the entire afternoon outside the convention center directing runners to the proper place to pick up their number. I enjoyed interacting with all the people and was hoping to do the same thing this year. I figured I'd at least be able to do that from the inside this time.
The expo was interesting. I walked around picking up advertisements for all the other marathons and the various running related products that were featured. I tasted Gu for the first time - not as bad as I had heard, but I'm not sure if I would enjoy downing an entire package of the stuff. I picked up a couple of long-sleeved running tops and tried to chat with someone in the Asics booth about the new Evolutions - they 'upgraded' the model and I was interested in what exactly was different. The person in the booth was decidedly unhelpful. I think I spent about 2 hours and then decided to leave.
Saturday I headed back into Manhattan for the noon to 5 shift that I had volunteered for. Headed straight to the volunteer office and got my little badge. No shirt, no hat, no nothing. I asked the woman where I should report. She just told me to go and look for someone in a red jacket. I asked the first person I saw in said jacket and he looked at me like I was speaking in tongues. I told him that I was supposed to be a marshall so he pointed me to another man who just said to stand here and point people to where the expo was being held. This proved difficult. First, there was another expo going on in the convention center. In the hall where the marathon expo had been held last year. A lot of those who had attended last year were trying to enter that expo - which had an admission fee and a security guard who was getting annoyed with all the people who kept asking her where the marathon expo was. She yelled at me, but I was doing the best I could. If you entered Jacob Javits Center on Saturday between noon and 5 and you came in on the bottom floor, I was the lady in green yelling my head off at anyone who looked like they might be there for the marathon. Amazingly, a great many people walked right by me and tried to enter the other expo. This might have been easier if I had looked like a marathon volunteer. But maybe not. I probably would have answered a lot fewer questions about the other expo. It was very exasperating.
After 5 hours, without any breaks and with hardly any voice left, I called Chelly who was supposed to be attending the expo. We had made plans to do dinner that evening. When I found her, she was with Jenny and her sister, Mary. Mary was running on Sunday. I told her where I thought I would be and that I would try and keep an eye out. They went home to rest up for the race and Chelly and I went for more Mexican food.
Sunday morning I headed over to the mile 14 aid station. My volunteer designation was something that the volunteer office had called '5 Boro Roving Volunteer Team'. No one knew what the heck that was, including the volunteer office. After signing up for what appeared to be a special volunteer designation, I was told just to go to one of the two aid stations in Queens and help out where they most needed help. ::Sigh:: They already had everything worked out - coordinators were there to run things and local boy scout, girl scout and school groups actually man the stations. I tried to explain what I was told to do, but they had no clue. But since I had obviously volunteered to do something, they told me that I could help. I just jumped in and took the initiative to do anything that looked like it needed doing. This ended up being pouring water into little paper cups for most of the day. Oh yeah, and running herd on a bunch of little boys. The kids just wanted to throw the water on each other and see who could get rid of the most cups of water. They were actually keeping count. This meant that when there wasn't a ton of runners coming through, they got bored. I had to jump out from behind the tables and into the street to make sure some of the wheelchair athletes got their water. Oh yeah, the high school girls were afraid of getting wet. Where do they get these people?
I didn't see much of the race. I did see the leaders and was able to watch a good bit of those runners running at about a 3 hour race pace. I saw Lance and his crew. I spotted Mary, who was about 3 minutes behind Lance - way to go, Mary!! Then it got way too busy to do anything but fill water cups. The only break I would get was when a runner would step over to the curb and I'd ask if they needed help. I opened probably a dozen little packets of pills for tired runners and filled up all kinds of containers with water. All in all, I did have a good time. I'm not sure if I'll do it again next year. I think the NYRR still need to work out the kinks in the volunteer system. But I guess it isn't totally their fault. I get the impression that a lot of people who volunteer either don't come or just show up, get the free stuff and then don't do what is expected of them. Then the few of us who are actually taking it seriously get shafted.
Labels: marathon, running